A student is set to go on trial accused of cooking a live hamster.
James White, 21, denied killing the animal when he appeared at York Magistrates' Court.
A post-mortem examination has been conducted on the unnamed adult female Syrian hamster, the court was told, but the findings conflicted with evidence from another expert and the case was adjourned.
Stephen Munro, defending, told the court: "It's a very sensitive case and it's a case that's going to be a battle of the experts, in essence."
The expert evidence is due to be presented to the court at a later date.
White, who wore a woollen jumper and tie and clutched a copy of the Economist magazine as he entered the courtroom, was arrested in connection with the death of an animal at his home in York.
He is being prosecuted by the RSPCA and is charged with "on or around February 4 2012, at Popes Head Court, causing unnecessary suffering to an adult female Syrian hamster by subjecting her to hyperthermia".
The next hearing will take place on October 4 at York Magistrates' Court.
White was granted unconditional bail.